The old idiom, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” has important implications for democracy. It speaks to the incalculable value of political learning for holding political leadership accountable. If citizens cannot learn from their mistakes, especially in cases when they are manipulated by official propaganda, then there’s little hope for a meaningful democracy in which citizens play an informed, direct role in shaping the political process.
Thankfully, much has changed from 2001 to 2017 in terms of growing public willingness to challenge official misinformation. This is especially the case regarding tax reform. In the early 2000s, much of the public was susceptible to the Bush administration’s manipulation as related to tax cuts. Both waves of tax cuts passed by Republicans in 2001 and 2003 were popular among the mass public, with most Americans failing to recognize just how much they favored the wealthy. But this is no longer the case, with a mass mutiny against Trump’s tax plan emerging over the last month.
Make no mistake about it, the Trump tax cuts are the most extreme example of class warfare in modern times to have a chance of Congressional approval. These are the Bush tax cuts on steroids. The Economic Policy Institute estimates the top 1 percent of income earners took home 38 percent of all the Bush tax cuts, while two-thirds of all the Bush cuts went to the top 20 percent of income earners….